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Elena and Her Men (1956)

Elena et les hommes (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 12 September 1956 (France)
Polish countess Elena falls in love to a French radical party's candidate, a general, in pre-World War I Paris, but another officer pines for her.


Jean Renoir


Jean Renoir (adaptation), Jean Serge (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ingrid Bergman ... Elena Sokorowska
Jean Marais ... Général François Rollan
Mel Ferrer ... Le comte Henri de Chevincourt
Jean Richard ... Hector
Juliette Gréco ... Miarka, la gitane (as Juliette Greco)
Pierre Bertin Pierre Bertin ... Martin-Michaud
Dora Doll ... Rosa la Rose
Frédéric Duvallès Frédéric Duvallès ... Gaudin
Renaud Mary Renaud Mary ... Fleury
Jacques Morel Jacques Morel ... Duchêne
Albert Rémy ... Buchez
Jean Claudio Jean Claudio ... Lionel Villaret
Mirko Ellis Mirko Ellis ... Marbeau
Jacques Hilling Jacques Hilling ... Lisbonne
Jacques Jouanneau Jacques Jouanneau ... Eugène Martin-Michaud


Polish countess Elena falls in love to a French radical party's candidate, a general, in pre-World War I Paris, but another officer pines for her. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


We give you the fire and the loveliness, the softness and the restlessness of a woman in love as played by the most female of all women...Ingrid Bergman See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »



France | Italy



Release Date:

12 September 1956 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Elena and Her Men See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Italian censorship visa # 22932 delivered on 6-11-1956. See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are a newspaper wedding announcement for the film's characters which includes the actors' names in parenthesis. See more »

Alternate Versions

English and French-language versions of this film were shot simultaneously. See more »


Referenced in Ingrid Bergman Remembered (1996) See more »


Music by Joseph Kosma
Lyrics by Jean Renoir
Performed by Juliette Gréco
See more »

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User Reviews

Elena is such a strong, free, sensual and charismatic character that the moments of her absence are the weaknesses of the film.
17 June 2017 | by guedesninoSee all my reviews

By embodying in a woman the archetype of an idealized France, Renoir, positively expands the perception of the feminine role, issues already evoked and debated in that period of the fifties, but that Renoir, inserts in a farces France of 1890, about to live a blow Where Elena (Ingrid Bergman) is the muse capable of influencing General François Rollan (Jean Marais), and consequently changing the political directions. In order to move this turbulent relationship further, there is the figure of Le Comte Henri DE Chevincourt (Mel Ferrer), who falls in love with Princess Elena, tries anyway to keep out the possible opponents of his love affair, something not simple for Henri, since Elena Is a poor finance widow, but rich in candidates for a new marriage.

"Elena ET Le's hommes" already begins with a comical and embarrassed request of marriage of Martin-Michaud (Pierre Bertin), suddenly refused by the Princess. In this first "take" we are already inserted in marks that have made the work of Jean Renoir singular and prosperous in the cinematographic grammar. The play with windows and doors (perhaps inherited from the theater and the circus spectacles), the effects of cutting in planes and against fields, working with depths, but without adding something new, Renoir more than inventing, I knew, mainly in this Delimit the necessary number of resources to tell a story.

One reason why Renoir is regarded as a modernist is that many of his films have a looser narrative compared to the typical Hollywood films of the time, Renoir's plots were generally less structured and more open to the digression, which would become The dominant mode of European art films from the 1960s, but Elena and her men unfortunately are not. The great cast and the need to follow historical events closely together give the film a much more complicated story line, which is much less open and enjoyable than the other two. The only excursions that Renoir allows himself are the many scenes of farce, but framed in a contained, even bland laugh, due to the novelty nothingness of the jokes. Renoir thought it would be fun to see serious actors in scenes that were pushed to the point of absurdity, but forced humor attempts do not work.

Elena, while occasionally suggesting that the state of the nation is at stake, represents more a theater of the heart than a theater of war, and Renoir seems determined to move completely out of the domain of realism, but contradictory it is on that road he prefers The opposite of what is suggested by the prophetic shadow of wars or battles there is a palette of vivid and colorful colors, for the battle here is of love, as it is phrased in the film "In a country where the Love, there is no room for wars. " In addition to the colorfully used to counter the proposals of a war movie, its importance is also in the perspective of an archetype of the protagonist of the film, Elena is a contrary joyful widow, although all the adversity of his life still maintains traces of the freshness of youth , The joy of better days and the sensuality of colors, reflected in their costumes and the colorful composition of the paintings - excellently captured by the photograph of Claude Renoir, nephew of Jean Renoir - paintings always ornamented with flowers, a spring and Utopian's France , Considering the events of the past and the threatening future.

Curiously it is with a flower (daisy), that Elena presents General Rollan, claiming to be a lucky charm. Among the many symbolic that this flower evokes, the most interesting is the wisdom to use as a resource to promote links, since the general, for various reasons, always loses it, and the repair of this amulet only occurs when Elena offers another , That is, Elena herself is the lucky charm. The good things that happen to the general and consequently to France occur when Elena is close to the general. A second curiosity is that 14 years before, in the movie "Casablanca", it is also with a daisy that Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) presents Richard Blane (Humphrey Bogart), and with the same effect of an amulet that finally gives luck, But can not promote the bond between the characters.

A sum inseparable from what nourishes the film is the quality of its actors, especially when considering the little experience or familiarity with comedy and or farce. Ingrid Bergman as Princess Elena Sokorowska is a ladder to various comic moments, but rarely can she produce comedy of her own, which is not a problem in the film at all, her princess turns out to be moments of female freedom, sensuality and action leader. Jean Marais as Gènèral François Rollan is also more ladder than comic, but he punctuates his general and the love triangle with Le Comte Henri DE Chevincourt (Mel Ferrer), but the high point of the comedy is in the characters that appear to be, a A reference to characters such as the harlequin, Pierrot and Columbine of the comedian dell'Artie, depicted in the film by Eugène (Jacques Jouanneau), Lolotte (Magali Noël), the princess' maid and Hector (Jean Richard).

Although the use of Renoir's misc en scene is as interesting as ever, and the positive performances, this is possibly his least interesting film. For, it generates a superficial and less enveloping tale.

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